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Dooley Noted: Happy Mother’s Day

The evolution of Mother’s Day in the United States dates all the way back before the Civil War. In West Virginia, a woman named Ann Reeves Jarvis pioneered “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” aimed at teaching women to care for their children properly. By 1868, after the war was over, these same clubs observed Friendship Days to promote peace between former Union and Confederate soldiers. A few years later, in 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote a Mother’s Day Proclamation in order to call for world peace.

After the death of Ann Reeves Jarvis, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, extended her mother’s legacy with the concept of an annual Mother’s Day designed to honor the sacrifices moms make for their children. In 1908, the first official celebration took place in Grafton, West Virginia at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church. From that point forward, Jarvis worked tirelessly to add the holiday to our nation’s calendar. Finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday of May to be a celebration of Mother’s Day.

Few would disagree that it is helpful and appropriate to set aside a single day to say thank you to our mothers. If your mother is still living, spend some time with her today. Bless the mother of your children. Honor the godly women who have influenced you over the years. Surely, we can all agree that no other profession in the world is more underrated than motherhood. Think for a moment about all the incredible knowledge we glean from our moms over the years. Our mothers teach us . . .

  • About RELIGION:  “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
  • About TIME TRAVEL:  “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”
  • About LOGIC: “Because I said so, that’s why.”
  • About IRONY:  “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
  • About CONTORTIONISM:  “Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck.”
  • About HYPOCRISY:  “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times.  Don’t exaggerate!”
  • About BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: “Stop acting like your father!”
  • About the CIRCLE OF LIFE:  “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”

In all seriousness, I’d like to say thank you to all the mothers in our city that love and care their families so well. Some of you have even adopted neighborhood friends and schoolmates who no longer have their biological mothers.       THANK YOU. Your life makes a difference, and our community is better because of you.

Even as I write these words, I realize that parenthood in general, and motherhood in particular, are perhaps more difficult than ever. Our culture does not value life like it should and women who prioritize their families are not always celebrated like they should be. Added to this are the unique challenges modernity poses for raising godly children. The Bible explains that these burdens are the result of Eden’s curse. After sin entered the world, God told the first woman, Eve, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth (Gen. 3:16). The pronouncement is about much more than physical pain associated with labor. These words speak to the great heartache and burden associated with raising children in a sinful world.

Yet, the sacrifice of motherhood remains worth it. Psalm 127:3-4 says, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” My prayer for every mother is that, through a personal relationship with Jesus, you will find strength for all that you face and encouragement in all your responsibilities. In fact, as you care for the people you love, may the reward of Proverbs 31 be true for you:  “She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Amen and amen.

Dr Adam B. Dooley is pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, TN, and author of Hope When Life Unravels. Contact him at adooley@ebcjackson.org. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBDooley.

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